Archive for the ‘Heinlein’ Category

When I was growing up, I loved going to the used bookstores, I always headed straight to the Science Fiction section, and wherever I went, in any store in any town in any state, the Sci-Fi section of the used bookstore always had Robert A. Heinlein books. They seemed to be a standard currency in those stores.

Considered along with Clarke and Asimov to be one of “The Big Three” of Science Fiction (at least Hard Science Fiction) he has had immeasurable influence on the shape and history of Sci-Fi. His series Starship Troopers was made into a series of motion pictures that had tremendous impact, his novel “The Puppet Masters” spawned a motion picture and its remakes which was highly imitated in books, movies and television. If imitation is the severest form of flattery, then Heinlein has been extremely flattered.

The first book of Heinlein’s I ever read was “Stranger in a Strange Land” which I can say was a turning point in my personal development, that book really changed my perception of the world, and made me think. Later in life I found other people who loved the book as much as I did, and some even told me that they tried to live their lives based on the book, they were hippies.

The book itself was centered around a lone survivor of a lost mission to Mars, Valentine Micheal Smith, (his mother was pregnant with him when she started the voyage to Mars) the rest of the crew met a mysterious end, but it seems the Native Martians took pity on him and raised him as a Martian, a heritage that comes with amazing mental powers (including the ability to banish people to other dimensions, destroy planets with your mind, put yourself in a hibernation state, alter your perception of time, etc) and is eventually rescued and taken back to Earth, where he has to learn to be human. This is the book that originated the word “GROK”, which found its way into popular culture, martian society is centered around the extremely valuable commodity of water, and Grok is the martian verb “to drink”, which can be used in extended contexts and meanings as well.

Another fantastic book of his is the novel “Time Enough for Love“, where the central character is Lazarus Long, who via the magic of a genetic anomaly has a lifespan of thousands of years. He’s a fascinating character who has learned to be humble, devious, and wise. He lives during mankind’s future of intergalactic empire and colonization, which makes for a fascinating and exciting read.


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